NEADS held its 82nd Graduation Ceremony on Sunday, November 7 at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School (“Monty Tech”). Supported by family, friends, NEADS staff, volunteer puppy raisers, and other supporters, NEADS Service Dog and Assistance Dog teams spoke about living with a Service Dog during a moving ceremony to celebrate their life-changing partnerships. This was the first in-person graduation ceremony since Fall 2019 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
This fall’s graduating class represents a wide range of NEADS Service Dogs, including Service Dogs for Veterans, Service Dogs for individuals with physical disabilities, Service Dogs for Hearing, Service Dogs for Children, and Assistance Dogs for professionals in classroom, courthouse, and hospital settings.
The program included a moving video and talk from In recognition of our veteran clients and Veterans Day, the program also featured a special version of “Stood their Ground,” from the country music duo Martin & Kelly - songwriters, incredible musicians, and long-time supporters of NEADS - that spotlighted some of our veteran clients. Darlene Coit, from Quilts of Valor, presented a quilt to Danielle Lambert, a 13-year member of the Air Force National Guard who has Assistance Dog Morrissey in a moving "wrapping" ceremony.
NEADS staff members Tyler Gribi and Michelle Kati were recognized for completing their two-year apprenticeship and advancing to become NEADS Trainers. Congratulations!
The class of graduating teams come from Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
Many thanks to all who helped make this a special day, including our fabulous volunteer photographers, Richard Prager and the Stony Brook Camera Club Volunteers! group.